Alex Steffen is a planetary futurist. He believes growing cities are the key to responding to our climate emergency and that in order to build a beautiful future, we have to be able to imagine a beautiful future.
Alex has been on the forefront of climate thinking for more than 25 years. An engaging speaker and a prolific writer, Alex has written thousands of pieces, been profiled in numerous media interviews, and given hundreds of talks to audiences around the world. Alex has spoken at the United Nations, YIMBYtown, performed celebrated TED talks, and, in 2010, initiated Seattle’s Climate Action Plan in a two-night series of talks at Town Hall.
Working for A2M since 2004, Julie Willem is an architect and now a partner in the office.
Alongside her work as an architect, she has produced several books, publications, and articles. In 2009, she co-founded and directed “be.passive” magazine. A regular trainer for professional networks, she ensures a steady schedule of presentations, lectures, and training programs.
Building up her vision, Julie directs the international developments of A2M. Now working in New York, she leads projects in Europe, Canada, and the U.S.
As founding member of A2M, Sebastian Moreno-Vacca leads A2M’s vision, design aesthetic, and drive to be the most sustainable and energy-efficient architect possible. Since starting A2M in 2000, Sebastian has led the firm to international recognition through his sustainable building knowledge and his numerous roles as president of the board of the Belgian Passive House Association. During his presidency, he significantly contributed to the establishment of a mandatory passive standard in the Brussels region. Since 2006, he has also been university faculty at ULB Architecture. In 2009, he co-founded and edited “be.passive” magazine.
Presenters and panelists
After 30 years of experience as a carpenter, designer, builder, and technical lead for energy efficiency programs, Tom is active as a green building consultant, providing LEED for homes, Built Green, and Passive House certifications for builders around the Northwest. Emphasizing a practical approach to zero energy homes, Tom is known for training, developing good working relationships with builders, and advising design/construction teams on advanced energy performance.
Jon oversees NEEA’s Next Step Homes initiative, which is designed to increase market adoption of energy-efficient building practices for single-family homes and strives to accelerate code so that all new homes in the Northwest are built more efficiently.
Before joining NEEA, Jon spent seven years with the Oregon Department of Energy, most recently leading energy efficiency and conservation programs for public schools. Prior to his time with the state, he worked in research and private consulting.
Laura Benjamin, AICP, is a senior planner with the Growth Management division of the Puget Sound Regional Council, the metropolitan planning organization that develops policies and coordinates decisions about regional growth, transportation, and economic development planning within King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Kitsap counties. Laura's work addresses regional growth management and land use policy, housing and housing affordability, equitable transit-oriented development, and implementation through local plans. Laura brings over 10 years of experience in multijurisdiction policy development and community engagement to her work at PSRC.
Sandy Bishop is currently serving as the Executive Director of Lopez Community Land Trust (LCLT), which she co-founded in 1989. The work of LCLT has received both local and national recognition, including features in NYT and Home Power, along with certification from GreenBuild, Living Building Challenge, Energy Star, and numerous awards.
Sandy has tutored others in understanding the power of community land trusts as a tool for land reform and empowerment. She appreciates bold vision and enjoys the relationship between unskilled volunteer labor and highly skilled professionals to pull off projects.
Terrance is the Recycling & Sustainability Program Manager for the King County Solid Waste Division of the Department of Natural Resources and Parks (DNRP). He has experience in GHG reduction strategy development, renewable energy projects, planning, policy development, budgeting, grants, and database management.
Terrance has a degree in Sustainable Urban Development from UW. At King County, Terrance is responsible for data management, developing and managing the C&D Grant Program, regulatory enforcement, and incorporating green building practices into county-owned projects within Solid Waste’s jurisdiction.
Kinley Deller provides construction-related waste reduction and recycling assistance to project managers, contractors, architects, and developers for the King County GreenTools program.
Building on over 20 years of experience in the waste reduction field, Kinley is well-versed in deconstruction techniques and practices and has been instrumental in promoting the concept of Design for Disassembly to maximize the potential for future building reuse.
Alex is a program manager in the King County Solid Waste Division of the Department of Natural Resources and Parks (DNRP). He manages King County LinkUp’s clean wood and mattress recycling market development projects and co-chairs the Northwest Product Stewardship Council.
Renee Gastineau is a client development manager with internationally recognized green building and sustainability consulting firm Paladino and Company. As client development manager, Renee helps clients leverage sustainable design as a tool for business and to support well-connected, integrated communities in the Puget Sound region. She recently served as a coach in the Department of Energy’s Solar in Your Community Challenge and assisted her team to secure national recognition and more than $100,000 in government funds to support community solar installations, workforce training, and private financing for future development.
Scott is a senior planner in the city of Kirkland’s Planning and Building Department. Scott is the program lead for city’s green building program, which offers expedited permit review for single-family residential construction that meets Built Green and LEED rating standards. He also works on major development projects that are required to meet the city’s LEED rating standards.
Scott graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in Community and Environmental Planning and is a LEED-accredited professional. He is an active member of the King County-Cities Climate Collaboration.
Jess Harris is the green building program manager with the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections. Jess is responsible for implementing, marketing, and managing SDCI’s green building incentive programs. He directed the creation of one of the region’s first expedited permit incentives: Priority Green. He worked with the Bullitt Center to guide them through Seattle’s Living Building Pilot process. Jess has a long history at the city and is a “go-to” person for green building. Previously, Jess was a senior land use planner working on many development projects like libraries, fire stations, schools, and Rainier Vista.
Mike Hinrichsen has been a real estate broker for 16 years at Lake & Company Real Estate, located near Green Lake in North Seattle. He also co-owns and operates Seattle Design & Construction. Mike has been involved in all aspects of the building and design of homes since he was a teenager. In 2013, he finished construction of his own 800-square-foot detached accessory dwelling unit (DADU) in Maple Leaf. He has assisted clients who have built DADUs and is an advocate for these clever green structures.
With over 26 years of building experience, Rob leads HyBrid Architecture’s Design & Development Studio. His leadership in the firm is built on fostering a collaborative environment—bringing builders, designers, and developers together. Rob’s focus at every level of construction is to foster the growth of urbanism through affordable, sustainable, and livable strategies.
Providing a voice for local educators, artists, and community-minded voices is a huge staple in Rob’s belief that a great community starts with people. He is a founding member of Architects Without Borders—Seattle, a former chair of the Capitol Hill Design Review Board, and former adjunct professor at the Cornish College for the Arts.
As a founder of CAST Architecture, Matt has spent more than 20 years working to increase the vitality of the city and protect the environment. Through his design and policy work, Matt is an advocate for better density, abundant housing options, vibrant urban spaces, open space, and sustainable building. He serves on AIA Seattle's Housing Task Force and Housing Design Forum Committee, the SW Design Review Board, and co-founded the community group, MOAR (More Options for Accessory Residences).
Emily is an Oregon-registered architect and building science expert who manages CLEAResult's Residential Engineering and Technical Team that supports energy efficiency programs and projects across the United States. She has served as an appointee on the Oregon Governor's Board for Residential and Manufactured Structures since 2011 and is an adjunct instructor teaching an 'Assessing Sustainable Buildings' course at the University of Oregon's Portland campus. She is particularly fond of working to improve the efficiency of her 110-year old Victorian bungalow in inner Southwest Portland.
Since 2018, Katie Kennedy has served as Seattle Public Utilities’ waste diversion lead, focused on construction and demolition waste. Katie manages the city’s requirements around C&D recycling and diversion, including material disposal bans, mixed-waste processing facility sampling, waste diversion reports for building permits, and salvage assessments.
Prior to working for the city, she worked as a consultant for 16 years, focused on developing solid waste management plans, managing large-scale waste characterization studies, and conducting recycling market research. Katie’s work on recycling market research included investigating and finding solutions for collection, processing, and markets for carpet and asphalt roofing shingles.
Marty Kooistra is recognized for his leadership in community revitalization, poverty alleviation, green building, board development, networks, and strategic alliances domestically and globally. As executive director of the Housing Development Consortium (HDC), Marty leads an association of 180 diverse organizations in a shared mission to increase access to affordable housing.
A first career as founder of a diversified construction business and a subsequent degree in social work allowed Marty to merge his passion for the built environment with his commitment to social justice—and led him directly to the affordable housing sector.
Rose has over 15 years working in green building, where she’s done everything from project management on large developments to education and advocacy. She is leading the Whatcom Housing Alliance, a coalition to encourage smart growth, and initiated the Zero Net Carbon Building Alliance, Shift Zero. She has lead place-making efforts throughout Bellingham, launching events like the Commercial Street Night Market and the Birchwood International Market as opportunities to create more vibrant places.
Other initiatives include Solarize, which led to over $2 million in solar investment in Whatcom County. Rose has a deep-seated passion for sustainable living and she practices this in her daily life. She is a curious blend of urban farmer, green building pioneer, and cheerful community-maker.
Toby manages the deployment of Forterra’s Strong Communities Funds, one of Western Washington’s cutting edge approaches to social impact capital for eleven affordable housing projects, including prototype cross-laminated timber units in Tukwila and Hamilton. He previously managed a $260 million Singapore-listed bond fund that served as a land developer of purpose-designed, ecologically-efficient, affordable housing suburbs working in Dubai, Shanghai, and Istanbul.
Toby specializes in fund management, debt and equity structuring, master-planning, engineering, and construction management.
Patience is a policy manager at the Housing Development Consortium (HDC) of Seattle-King County, where she works to promote affordable housing policy and create a strong united voice for a King County that is affordable, equitable, and livable for all. She leads the process of setting HDC’s annual policy priorities and manages advocacy engagement to advance the annual priorities.
Prior to joining HDC, Patience managed Seattle for Everyone, a broad coalition of affordable housing developers and advocates, for-profit developers and businesses, labor organizations, environmentalists, and urbanists to advance the first-ever comprehensive package of affordable housing policies in Seattle, known as the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA).
With more than 17 years experience building homes in the greater Seattle area, Anthony is an advocate for sustainable design and Net Zero Energy construction. He continues to push the envelope in the green building community with innovative construction methods that have positively influenced city building practices. As a result of this commitment and effort, Anthony and Dwell have won numerous national, regional, and local sustainable and design awards. As a lifelong Seattleite, Anthony has a deep commitment to creating communities that bring together like-minded individuals who value sustainability and modern reclaimed design.
For the last five years, Anthony has served as chair of the executive committee of Built Green, the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties’ green home certification program. He serves on the NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) Sustainability & Green Building subcommittee. He is a key member of the Columbia City Business Association and Georgetown Communities and is sought after as a thought leader in the national and local sustainable communities to promote and share Dwell Development’s green agenda.
Sara Maxana is a Seattleite who believes affordable and walkable urban neighborhoods are key to addressing the social and environmental challenges of our growing and changing world. As citywide initiatives division manager for Seattle’s Office of Planning and Community Development, policy advisor, and former citywide project manager for the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA), she puts these values into action, managing interdepartmental efforts to implement strategies to meet Seattle’s housing affordability needs, minimize residential displacement, and support vibrant and accessible neighborhoods.
Previously, Sara was a principal planner for the Puget Sound Regional Council, where she worked from 2011 to 2016 on the Growing Transit Communities Partnership—a regional effort to create equitable opportunities for people to live and work near high-capacity transit.
David Neiman, AIA, is a principal at Neiman Taber Architects, a Seattle firm specializing in urban housing with a focus on issues of livability, affordability, community, and access to housing for all. Through a combination of design, advocacy, and project development, he has helped to pioneer new approaches to housing in Seattle.
He holds architecture degrees from the University of Washington and the University of Pennsylvania and is a licensed architect in the state of Washington. He was a recent member of the Mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) Committee and the NW Design Review Board.
As the founder of Living Shelter in 1992, Terry is an early adopter of deeply sustainable homes and lifestyles. Her outreach includes her own radio talk show program (The Eco-Logical Home), hands-on straw bale construction training, and many green conference presentations—all with a goal of helping facilitate a more resilient future.
Terry is a self-taught architect and Washington state native and her work has been published both nationally and regionally. She served on the regional board of the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild from 2004 to 2009, finishing as co-chair. She is the architect on Selah Vista Homes and NW EcoVillage.
Miranda grew up in the mountains of Virginia and attended the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture under Dean William McDonough, who inspired her with “waste-equals-food” and “cradle-to-cradle” sustainable design principles. She joined the city of Shoreline in 2007 as a senior planner specializing in developing and implementing long-range strategic plans.
From 2013–2016, she managed subarea planning for two light rail stations coming to Shoreline in 2024. Until mid-August, she worked to bring the vision of the subarea plans to reality through multimodal corridor planning and developing programs to administer green building and affordable housing mandates. She has recently transitioned to Sound Transit as a High Capacity Transit Project Manager working on the North Link corridor.
Since the early 1970s, Martha has worked in the construction industry as laborer, carpenter, inspector, project manager, and spec homebuilder. In the late 70s, the threat of living 15 miles from twin nuclear plants sparked her interest in conservation and renewable energy. Besides building places for people to live, Martha helps to spread the word about high-performance homebuilding and low-impact development.
Martha is a member of the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild, Skagit and Island County Builders Association (SICBA), BIAW, and NAHB. After 33 years in Seattle, where she developed numerous pioneering Built Green® 5-Star certified projects, Martha moved and brought her trademarked City Cabins to Sedro-Woolley, WA.
Aliesha Ruiz recently joined the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties as the Seattle government affairs manager. Aliesha relocated to Seattle from the “Land of Enchantment,” also known as New Mexico, where she lobbied for both the public and private sectors. She began her career in government affairs by managing special projects and initiatives while serving under the New Mexico Attorney General.
Tom Schneider has been developing, manufacturing, and testing coatings, sealants, air barriers, and other construction materials for more than 30 years. He was the first to develop STPe technology air barriers that are now common to the market.
Tom recognizes that if we are to have higher performing structures, we will need a better understanding of the materials we build them out of and suggests that if we are not testing, we are guessing.
Growing up with deep roots in the Seattle real estate and development community, Tadashi has now been a real estate broker in the area for over 20 years. In 2007, he dove into learning about sustainability and energy efficiency for homes, shifting his focus and gaining a new passion. Tadashi then worked to become an EnergyStar verifier and HERS rater, founded Evergreen Certified, and slowly began building a client base of developers and builders in the Seattle area looking to build green.
Tadashi was the first PHIUS rater in Washington, was involved with the first DOE Builder’s Challenge home in the state in 2010, and more recently started Ekovate. Tadashi has also been hard at work turning his own home on Vashon Island into a Net Zero property.
In his efforts to evolve building practices, Dan combines a passion for energy, sustainability, and the natural environment with over 30 years of construction experience. He melds knowledge of Passive House, building science, materials selection, and energy resources with his extensive background in hands-on craft, site management, and project troubleshooting.
A long-time denizen of Seattle, in 2018 Dan joined RDH Building Science as one of their in-house Passive House consultants. Additionally, Dan is a certified Passive House consultant (CPHC) and an instructor and curriculum developer for the Passive House Institute US’s (PHIUS) Builders Training Program. He also serves on the boards of Passive House Northwest and PHIUS and is a constant advocate for municipal and state advances in building practice.
As the Building Science Manager for TRC and BetterBuiltNW, Dan has completely immersed himself in the discussion of what is required to create high-performance buildings and the technologies that operate within them. Dan has 25 years of experience working directly for a contractor performing energy audits and ratings, weatherization repairs, consulting, and analysis for private clients in both new construction and the existing buildings market.
Dan currently provides building science consultation, technical management, market channel development, and training and presentation services for a variety of residential, multifamily, and small business programs across the country.